Frequently Asked Questions: Basic Usage

Can you design/upload/run/fix my website for me?

Unfortunately, our sysadmin team does not have the capacity to maintain both our servers and the thousands of websites hosted on it. If you have a specific technical question (e.g. an error message you don't understand), email our support list at support@srcf.net. For more general questions, including how to build a website or use the Linux command line, a number of tutorials are available on the web. The UIS provide a number of relevant training courses and online resources.

You may upload a website designed elsewhere to be hosted on the SRCF. However, it must be you who performs the upload -- you must not share access to your SRCF account with anyone else, even if they are acting on your behalf. If you are unable to maintain your own website, we suggest you use an external hosting provider such as Wordpress.com, or hire a web design/hosting firm.

How can I upload my website?

In order to upload files to your webspace, the recommended way is to use SCP or SFTP. There are a number of SFTP clients available on OS X, including Cyberduck. If you are using Windows, then WinSCP is a good application to try first.

When you connect to the server, you should use files.srcf.net as the server name (sometimes referred to as the hostname) and give the username and password that were sent to you when your SRCF account was created. When you first log in, you should see the contents of your home directory on our server. Inside your home directory you will find a public_html directory — this is where you can put your personal website.

If you want to upload a society website, you need to connect to the server in the same way, still using your personal username and password. However, rather than putting your files in the public_html directory in your filespace, you should also find a directory named after the abbreviation used for your society. Inside here you'll find another public_html directory which is where the society website files go.

Please note that it can take up to 20 minutes between uploading a new site and that site being published on the web. Please be patient.

If you use WinSCP then this documentation and also the in-built documentation (in the “Help” menu) will be handy.

How do I “log in”?

Much of the functionality offered by the SRCF is accessible via a text-mode “shell” interface on our server — using this interface you can manipulate files on your website directly, as well as running other programs such as email software. When you get an SRCF account, you can connect to the server and issue commands by typing them. If you're not used to this, don't worry — it's much less primitive than it sounds and very powerful!

If you're running a Unix-based computer (including recent Apple models running Mac OS X) then logging in is easy as it's built into the system: just starting a terminal and running ssh <username>@shell.srcf.net and entering your password when prompted will do the trick.

If you're running a system without a native console, such as MS Windows, then things are slightly trickier. Not much though, you just have to go and get a console program. We recommend the PuTTY application, downloadable for free from www.chiark.greenend.org.uk/~sgtatham/putty/. Once downloaded, run PuTTY, enter the server name as shell.srcf.net, the protocol as SSH (port 22) and click to connect. Enter your username and SRCF password when prompted.